0520 GMT January 23, 2018
“For many people, they won’t be numerate or literate in their own language let alone English, and this is a difficulty,” Peter Dutton told Sky News late Tuesday.
He said such refugees would be either hogging local jobs or staying unemployed and on welfare.
“So there would be a huge cost and there’s no sense in sugarcoating that,” he said.
Veteran parliamentarian and Dutton’s predecessor Chris Bowen said in reaction, “There are hundreds of thousands of refugees in Australia who’ve worked hard, who’ve educated themselves and their children and they will be shaking their heads at their minister today, in disgust frankly.”
Senator for South Australia, Sarah Hanson-Young called the remarks “vile and nasty” as well as xenophobic.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, however, lent Dutton her support by implying that he was only being realistic.
Dutton’s remarks concerned the refugees coming to Australia via air.
Canberra has already torpedoed the chances of those trying to reach the country by boat.
The boats are intercepted and sent to the remote islands of Christmas and Manus in Papua New Guinea and Nauru in the South Pacific, where the refugees are kept in reportedly inhumane conditions.
Australia has been under criticism from international rights groups and UN agencies for its asylum policies on the boat refugees.